Reported By Julie Fei-Fan Balzer
Favored by illustrators, gouache is commonly known as “the opaque watercolor.” I came by my set of 24 tubes by Reeves through a bad review. A woman that I scrapbook with brought them in (barely touched) with the pronouncement that they were there for the taking as she didn’t like them. Reeves gouache is considered student-grade and therefore quite inexpensive. A set of 24 tubes retails for around $14.99.
So, do I agree with my friend’s assessment? Well, I took them for a test drive when I made the layout seen here. I painted the clouds, sun, rainbow, and title on separate pieces of paper experimenting with different painting techniques (lots of water, little water, textured paper, flat paper) and experimented with drawing on the painted surfaces with both a black pen and white pen.
Here are my conclusions:
- The Reeves gouache behaved very much like acrylic paint.
- I had some issues with flaking and chipping when I used a heat gun to speed drying (something I often do with watercolor and acrylic paint, but they don’t chip).
- I had a few issues with the tubes of paint:
- The cap broke on one tube when I tried to close it.
- One tube developed a hole in the bottom.
- Two of the tubes had slightly explosive reactions when I opened them. The paint came flying out without my having squeezed them.
- I liked having the ability to blend the paints (like on the clouds) if I wanted, but they also kept their integrity (like on the rainbow).
- The colors are rich and brilliant.
- The paint dries to a nice smooth finish, even on textured paper.
All in all, I think that you get what you pay for. This is a nice starter set of gouache. It’s cheap enough to allow for the curious to explore the wide world of gouache. Most of my quibbles are with the tubes. I feel very frustrated that on a first outing of these paints I had so many issues.
Do you have a brand of gouache that you like? Fill us in!